Does marketing feel spammy and gross? Try this.

If you’re a heart-centered, mindful entrepreneur who feels gross and spammy when you market your business, here’s an easy fix. 

I’m a business coach, and almost all of my clients feel this way sometimes. They want to promote their business in a way that feels good for them AND their audience, but that’s easier said than done.

Here’s the problem. If you’re an empathic entrepreneur who cares as much about serving your clients as you do about profits, a lifetime of hearing old-school marketing tactics has probably conditioned you to use language that flies in the face of your truth.

They will tell you to “target” your ideal client in your messaging. And on the surface, that will feel like good advice. But your subconscious might associate “target” with its dictionary definition, which is:

  • a mark to shoot at
  • a goal to be achieved
  • something to be ridiculed

Yikes.

And if you do get them on the phone or convince them to book with you, traditional marketing lingo will call them “leads” and say you’ve “captured” them. 

But we know what “capture” means:

  • to catch, win, or gain control by force
  • to move in a board game (such as chess) to gain an opponent’s piece
  • one that has been taken (such as a prize ship)

Suddenly your potential clients, for whom you care deeply, have been reduced to things you aim at or prizes to be won. 

And that feels f-cking gross.

I want to offer that you’re allowed to get rid of this language and swap it with words and phrases that feel more aligned. 

Like, nobody checks. 

You make the rules.

How to add a blog to your website in 2022

You’re a service-based business owner, and you want to add a blog to your website to attract new clients, build brand credibility, and generate revenue (or a combination of those), but you don’t know where to start. I just coached a client in my Entrepreneurs on the Rise program through the process of starting a blog, and while it’s fresh in my mind, I feel compelled to share it with you, too. As a blogger-turned-coach, I figured it would be RUDE not to let you in on the good stuff!

(psst: if you’re too busy to read this right now, listen instead!)

So let me slice right through the jungle of information out there and share what you need to know (and ONLY what you need to know) so you can avoid common mistakes that will leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated without anything to show for your hard work.

(And besides, it’s not like you’re trying to become a full-time blogger anyway. You just need this creative outlet to share your knowledge, attract potential clients to your website and set your business up for growth. I get it.)

This is my simple step-by-step guide.

Add a blog to your website in 2022 with my step by step guide and free download
Quick Disclosure: Some of these links happen to be affiliate links which means when you click the link to purchase something on this page, it won’t cost you more but I may receive a commission for sharing this with you. Which is great, because I was going to share it with you anyway!

4 Things to do before you add a blog to your website

Hold your horses. I know your keyboard is screaming, “use me!” but wait a hot second. Spend a few minutes on these four steps so you can save HOURS of confusion in the future. You’ll thank me later.

Step 1: Decide what your goal is

Why do you want to start a blog, exactly? Get crystal clear on the reason(s) before you do anything.

Some common goals for adding a blog to your service-based business might be:

  • increasing brand awareness and credibility
  • building an email list you can market to later on
  • reaching prospective clients outside of your typical service area
  • driving traffic to your site for future ad revenue
  • attracting brand partnerships to diversify revenue streams
  • blogging as a creative outlet, especially if you just love writing

It’s important to know why you’re doing the things you’re doing in your business—always—and that includes examining why blogging is important to you. Your goals might also influence the topics you cover and where you spend your time during the creative process. More on that below.

Step 2: Pick 5 content pillars

A “content pillar” is blogger-speak for “category”. These are the broad topics you will write about on your blog. Think of them as buckets of information you want to share with your readers.

Why they matter: Choosing pillars related to your niche makes it easier for you to decide what to write because you already know what categories you’re focusing on. It’s easy to get sucked in by trends or distractions (aka ‘shiny object syndrome’) when you don’t have your pillars solidified, which will confuse your readers and scatter your target audience. And we don’t want that. 

If you’re over there thinking, “okay, but what do these actually look like?” here’s an example.

Let’s say you’re a photographer and you want to start a blog to attract other photographers because, in addition to shooting weddings and senior pictures, you’re creating an online course on wedding photography that other photographers can sign up for. If you add a blog to your website, you might decide to make your five content pillars:

  • product reviews (cameras, lighting, equipment)
  • shooting tips (settings, angles)
  • editing tricks (presets, color theory, how-tos)
  • time management (work/life balance, wedding timing)
  • marketing (promoting your biz on social media, industry publications, paid ads)

See how handy this is? Now, when you sit down to write a new post, you have some direction!

Step 3: Decide on a posting schedule

There are two main questions you need to answer here: how often do you want to publish new posts, and when should those posts will go live?

How often you’ll publish: I know you’re excited to get going, but that enthusiasm will wane when the kids are home for summer break, or you get sick, or some other project takes over your plan. How prolific you are is totally up to you, but I don’t recommend more than one post per week (at least in the beginning). When you hit your stride with blogging and get into a routine, you might feel comfortable committing to more, but I wouldn’t jump into that right away.

When you’ll post new content: Since you’ll be working ahead and scheduling posts to publish in the future (more on that later), it’s best to choose a day and time for new content to “go live” each week. Readers like consistency. 

Step 4: Design your blogging workflow (or download mine for free)

Whether you want to write multiple posts in one sitting or spread the work out over time, a workflow is essential. There are other tasks—besides the actual writing of the piece—that need to be done for every post. Things like choosing images to go with your text (whether you’ll be taking photos or using stock images), adding tags to your post, and marketing your content are all on the list, and you don’t want to be scrambling at the end to get them all done. We all love a good SOP, right?!

develop a workflow for blog post creation

Designing a workflow also helps with consistency, so you know what to expect every time you sit down to write. Instead of winging it or recreating the wheel every time, you’re spending your time efficiently so you can get back to your core business as soon as possible. It also prevents you from missing steps in the process that you have to go back and correct later.

How to start writing your blog: do’s and don’ts

  • Do build a stockpile of 8-10 posts before publishing anything. There will be weeks when life gets away from you, and you won’t get your blog post done. You’re building a buffer by working 8-10 weeks ahead (assuming you post once per week).
  • Don’t write directly onto your website platform. If your site crashes or there’s a tech glitch, you could lose all your work if you haven’t hit save in a while. And websites don’t tend to catch typos and other grammar errors very effectively (if at all). I write in an app called Grammarly first and then copy/paste my work onto WordPress (my website platform). 
  • Do aim for 1,800-2,400 words per post (Grammarly automatically counts your words, FYI). The Google gods smile lovingly on this kind of “long-form” content and are more likely to nudge readers toward it in search results. If you can’t hit that word count, it’s okay. It’s much better to post a shorter blog entry than none at all!
  • Don’t ignore SEO (search engine optimization). Don’t panic if you’ve never heard this term before. You’re on the right track if you’re writing valuable, error-free long-form content and including keywords in your articles. Fortunately, you can do basic keyword research for free. Google “free keyword research.” You’ll find plenty of sites that will help you for free, and they don’t even require signup! Look for a few words or phrases that people are likely to search for when looking for your content. Then weave those words and phrases into your blog posts. Try to include them in your title and headings, too.
  • Don’t start a new website for your blog. If you’ve had your website up for months or even years, you’ve probably built up some credibility with the Google gods. It’s called domain authority, and it’s a search engine ranking score that goes up with website quality, content relevance, and a host of other factors. Why start over when you can essentially borrow the street cred and brand awareness you’ve already built online to boost your blog?

Side note: if you use WordPress and you’re on the Business plan or higher, you can install the Yoast SEO plugin to keep tabs on how well your posts are doing with regard to SEO.

How to market your blog posts

After you’ve spent valuable time writing your post, formatting it onto your web platform, and all the other things I’ve mentioned, it would be a shame if nobody read it, right? But it’s at this critical point when many entrepreneurs move on to a new post or project and fail to capitalize on their hard work. Don’t do that!

marketing your blog on social media

If you have time to spread the word about your new content by writing emails to your subscribers and crafting posts for social media channels (like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn) and social search engines (like Pinterest), great! That’s the best way to share your content. If you go this route, I recommend creating some good, branded templates in Canva to save time on graphics (and if you have Canva Pro, like I do, you can even schedule posts straight from the app).

How to use RSS feeds

While posting manually has its merits, if you’re really f–ing busy and this whole blogging thing has already taken up a lot of your time, I have three words for you: SYNDICATE THAT SHIT.

I’m talking about using an RSS feed to market each post you make. Emails sent to your subscribers, posts made on social, and even pins made on Pinterest—all without you having to do anything! Leveraging your RSS feed (which your web platform likely created for your blog automatically), you can share new posts without lifting a finger.

Pro tip: The RSS feed will usually pull the first image from your post, so make sure the image you use first is the one you want to be carried over to social media, emails, etc.

Another pro tip: The RSS feed will pull from the “excerpt” box when your content is shared, so make sure you fill it out by providing a summary of your blog post.

I use a blend of both strategies to market my writing. For example, when I hit “publish” on this blog entry (the one you’re reading right now), four things happened automatically:

  • An email was sent to my subscribers
  • An update was posted to my Facebook page
  • This content was shared as a post on LinkedIn
  • A pin was shared to my Pinterest account

I’ll share links to this piece a few more times manually when I have the time and energy to do so, but can we all agree that automation gave me a running start?!


If you’re thinking about adding a blog to your website, what questions do you have? Leave them in the comments and I’ll be sure to reply!

3 Ways Ditching Diet Culture Upleveled My Biz

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: How you do one thing is how you do everything. And believe me when I tell you that I resisted this little nugget of wisdom hard. I really wanted to be the special snowflake who *could* confine her bad habits to one area of her life and not have it spill over into everything else.

Take for example my complicated relationship with clocks. I always used to run late because—despite loads of evidence to the contrary—I deluded myself into thinking that traffic would move swiftly and my kids would buckle themselves into their carseats without protest.

(Spoiler alert: the roads are filled with bad drivers, and those kids are ages 3 and 5 so they move with all the speed of a turtle running through honey.)

There’s a word for my unrealistic expectations surrounding time: I’m a tidsoptimist. It’s a word used to describe people who are habitually late because they think they have more time than they actually do. (The word is of Swedish origin—and so am I—so I guess it was meant to be?)

So it wasn’t just that I used to run late to meetings or dinners or daycare drop-off, my overly optimistic relationship with time meant I procrastinated things or expected other people to match my frenetic pace—only to be let down when things didn’t go to plan.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

When I took an honest inventory of this behavior, I saw time troubles popping up everywhere:
>> Putting off work until the last moment, then hustling to get everything done before the (often self-imposed) deadline
>> Lusting over ways to build more efficiency and productivity in my day so I could go on pretending I’m some superhuman who can fit everything into my 24 hours if I just work smarter
>> Beating myself up when I run out of time before I finish everything I wanted to do

Ep. 18: Blogging For Small Business Start, Grow, or Pivot

As a blogger-turned-coach, I know how beneficial it can be to add a blog to your website. But it’s jungle of information out there. Instead of getting overwhelmed or giving up entirely, I’ll share what you need to know (and ONLY what you need to know) to add a results-oriented blog to your existing website. ———– Let’s stay in touch! >> Follow me on IG @katiegrayofficial >> Learn more about my work and book your free consultation at http://www.katiegrayofficial.com/coaching >> Find show notes, ask questions, and leave comments about this episode at http://www.katiegrayofficial.com/show — Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/startgrowpivot/support
  1. Ep. 18: Blogging For Small Business
  2. Ep. 17: 5 Must-Listen Podcasts For Women
  3. BONUS: Q+A with Katie

I had to admit, my tendency to push my time to the limit and expect everything and everyone around me to get out of my way was showing up everywhere in my life. It was the sneaky hidden root under most of the stress and anxiety I felt on a daily basis, and it went virtually undetected until I learned to accept that—just like every other human—how I do one thing is how I do everything.

By now you are probably wondering what diet culture and business have to do with any of this. Like, how does what you eat have any bearing on how you run your business?!

I’m glad you asked.

If how we do one thing is how we do everything, then every habit, tendency, and behavior is inextricably linked.

And that means that when we change a habit, tendency, or behavior, those changes reverberate throughout everything we do.

For me, making a fundamental change in how I approach food sent shockwaves throughout my entire thought process. It changed how I viewed myself, what I thought about, how I made decisions, and even what things I allowed into my environment.

Changing my approach to food meant shunning any and all forms of dieting, and embracing the principles of intuitive eating instead. Intuitive eating, for those who don’t know, means trusting your body to tell you when, what, and how much to eat. It means full permission to eat any food without guilt, judgment, or shame. There is no self-discipline or restraint; there is only listening to your body and honoring its needs.

As a serial dieter, this is a totally new concept—one that would require the adoption of an entirely new mindset.

Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com

As these principles seeped in, I started seeing parallels between the “rules” I had imposed on myself regarding food with “rules” I had unwittingly been following in my business. In an instant, I could see how these old, tired patterns of thinking had been holding me back in my business.

Since implementing these new strategies, my social media presence has grown, I had my biggest month ever in terms of revenue, and—most importantly—I’m having more fun in my business than I thought possible.

Here are the top three ways ditching diet culture upleveled my biz.

#1: I went all in

I knew that if I wanted to truly embrace intuitive eating, I’d have to go all-in. I was prepared to let go of every belief I’d ever held about body size, food rules, calorie counting, carbs, and the idea that some foods were “good” and some were “bad.”

Going all-in meant putting my scale away (actually, putting both of my scales away because I have one to weigh myself and another to weigh my food!).

Going all in meant throwing out ALL of the diet books I’d accumulated throughout the years. I stacked them neatly on my desk, scooped them up, and walked them straight to the garbage bin in my garage. They made a loud thump noise when they hit the bottom of the can, and hearing that satisfying sound made it all the more real.

Going all in on intuitive eating also meant deleting my favorite calorie-counting app. I’d used it off and on for YEARS; it was a permanent fixture on my phone. Even when I wasn’t actively keeping tabs on calories or macros, I used the app to track my weight or check the calorie count of a food I wanted to eat. There is no room in intuitive eating for scrutinizing calories and carbs.

I noticed that within a matter of days, my outlook shifted. I was no longer available for diet culture. When ads or posts would pop up on social media promoting diet food, supplements, or meal plans, I’d completely ignore them without a second thought. Something in me had fundamentally changed. I began to take my power back with regard to what information I allowed to affect me.

It just so happened that around this time, I was also going through a major inflection point in my business. I love being a virtual life coach and small business consultant. It’s my jam. But the marketing side of things has been a struggle for me because I’m just not built for in-your-face marketing tactics and I feel completely out of integrity when I’m focused more on selling than serving.

Because of the anxiety I felt around marketing, I’d fallen into the trap of overanalyzing all my Instagram posts and shying away from making the kind of content I really wanted to make because some of it didn’t fit neatly into my “niche.” I felt torn because on one hand, I had a desire to create from a playful, authentic place, but on the other hand I wanted to market “the right way” according to “the experts.”

My solution to this internal struggle? Going all in on my vision. Letting my content be an expression of my whole self—even if it means veering off the path of least resistance—because my coaching practice is built on the belief that each of my clients is brilliantly unique, and what better way to illustrate that than to embody it myself?

#2: Instead of following someone else’s rules, I made my own

Diet culture is teeming with rules. The industry has come at us from every angle, whether it’s telling us what time to eat, or what to eat, or how often to eat, or how much to eat.

Paradoxically, each diet claims to be better than the rest. And each one promises some kind of freedom that other diets don’t offer. For example, counting calories means you can eat any kind of food you want as long as you don’t go over a certain number of calories. Keto means you can eat as many calories as you want as long as you don’t eat carbs. Intermittent fasting means you can eat a variety of foods as long as you do it in a restrained amount of time.

The one thing all diets do is strip us of our sovereignty. Diet culture teaches us to place our trust everywhere BUT our own minds and bodies.

Ditching diet culture meant reclaiming power and authority over food and allowing my body to decide what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat.

Photo by Lisa on Pexels.com

Because (again) how we do one thing is how we do everything, I realized that by training my mind to give away my body’s autonomy over its own nourishment, I had trained it to submit to other externally-imposed rules in other other areas of my life, too.

And one of those areas was my business.

As a coach, I help entrepreneurs find their own unique style and voice so they can run their businesses the way that feels best to them. And by and large, I run my business that way, too.

But I noticed that from time to time, I would let my coaches or colleagues influence me a little too much. Even if I ultimately made a choice that was in full alignment with my authenticity, I wouldn’t feel as “hell yes” about it as I wanted to because I was quietly wondering what they would have done, or whether they would agree with my decision.

I decided to completely let go of rules. Just like I had dropped all those dieting rules, I stopped questioning whether I was “breaking” any rules by carving my own path in the industry. Now, I make decisions that feel fully aligned and I get to feel the freedom that comes with trusting myself so much that I don’t even care what other coaches are doing.

#3: I stopped doing things that didn’t feel good to me

Have you ever gotten on the low-carb bandwagon? For a while there, diet culture was promoting this one as the word of god. Even fruit was on the no-no list. It was bananas (but don’t eat actual bananas because of the carbs)!

When the human body is deprived of carbohydrates—its preferred source of fuel—it’s forced to find less convenient ways to keep itself going. And this process of switching from carbs to other sources of energy makes you feel like absolute shit. Chills, headaches, and nausea are common.

Now, if you can make it through this initial period, your body will fully switch to a new method of energy and you’ll feel normal again. But watch out, because if you slip up and eat some bread, your body will get all excited and go back to using carbs for fuel and then you’ll have to go through the whole process again!

No part of this eating plan feels good to me. Neither does fasting, counting calories, weight obsession, thin privilege, fat bias, or food morality.

Do you know what does feel good? Listening to my body. Feeding it what it needs, when it needs it, and in an amount that fuels it.

In terms of my business, I didn’t just stop listening to other people altogether. But I did begin running everything I heard through my own internal filter and asking myself whether it sounded good to me.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Even more importantly: Did it feel good? Did it create a feeling of peace and calm in my body, or was there tightness and resistance? (Ya’ll, the body is so smart… we are fools if we don’t listen.)

I decided to apply this “does it feel good?” filter not just to food but to every piece of information that came my way. As a result of this change, I stopped doing anything in my business that didn’t feel good to me no matter who suggested it or what their rationale was.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that once you understand that how you do one thing is how you do everything, everything you do becomes a way to learn more about yourself. Every “bad habit” becomes a learning opportunity because you know that whatever belief (or set of beliefs) is at the root of that behavior is showing up in other places, too.

This was my journey. Drawing parallels between my relationship with food and the way I approach my business was the key that unlocked more of my potential. For you, it might be something completely different, and that’s okay. No matter what, you can use this concept to tear down the roadblocks that hold you back from more success in your business.

How to Decide if Network Marketing is Right for You

Network marketing as an industry gets a bad rap. Who, in this Year Of Our Lord 2021, has not gotten that random message from a long-lost high school friend hawking a “miracle” product designed to make you thinner, prettier, or healthier? You haven’t talked to her in seriously 19 years and now here she is, rolling into your DMs to sell you a solution to a problem you didn’t even know you had.

“How thoughtful of her!” said no one ever.

But wait: there’s more! Because even if you aren’t interested in the product she’s selling, maybe you’d wanna be on her team of bossbabes? I mean, those girls are literally like sisters to her now. They have each other’s backs, and they’re killin’ it. Financial freedom is right around the corner!

Hard pass.

If only it was that simple and easy, right? You just sign up and BOOM – money starts flying into your purse.


But here’s the thing: for every saccharine, passive-aggressive network marketer I’ve had the unfortunate opportunity to endure, I know at least one passionate, heart-centered woman who is promoting products she believes in and making a good living doing it.

So if some women are scraping by and annoying everyone within a 10-mile radius and other women are generating meaningful income and creating real relationships based on love and trust, then is all this negativity toward the industry really warranted? And if you do decide to sign on with one of these companies, what do you need to look out for? How can you avoid becoming another cautionary tale?

This is where I come in.

As many of you know, I spent 10 years in commercial lending. I’ve studied the inner workings of just about every type of business you can imagine, from machine shops to radio stations. Aside from a short (and unsuccessful) Mary Kay run in college, I haven’t dabbled in network marketing or MLMs myself. It’s easy for me to be objective here.

I have a sign in my office that reads: Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing, and I take that message to heart.

So let’s dive into the ugly, beautiful world of network marketing together and see what we find, okay?

Ep. 18: Blogging For Small Business Start, Grow, or Pivot

As a blogger-turned-coach, I know how beneficial it can be to add a blog to your website. But it’s jungle of information out there. Instead of getting overwhelmed or giving up entirely, I’ll share what you need to know (and ONLY what you need to know) to add a results-oriented blog to your existing website. ———– Let’s stay in touch! >> Follow me on IG @katiegrayofficial >> Learn more about my work and book your free consultation at http://www.katiegrayofficial.com/coaching >> Find show notes, ask questions, and leave comments about this episode at http://www.katiegrayofficial.com/show — Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/startgrowpivot/support
  1. Ep. 18: Blogging For Small Business
  2. Ep. 17: 5 Must-Listen Podcasts For Women
  3. BONUS: Q+A with Katie
  4. Ep 16: 3 Ways Ditching Diet Culture Upleveled My Biz
  5. Ep 15: How to Decide if Network Marketing Right for You

Why do companies market this way?

Before we can even have the conversation about whether network marketing is right for you, I think it’s helpful to look at this concept from the company’s point of view.

Photo by doTERRA International, LLC on Pexels.com

Why would a company choose to market its products via a network of independent representatives instead of using paid ads, its own social media clout, or putting products in stores?

Because it’s low risk, that’s why.

These companies can control risk in a couple different ways, actually. The network marketing model offers them better control over advertising costs and less inventory risk. Let’s look closer at each of these strategies so we can understand how they benefit the company.

Better control over advertising costs

Normally, companies have to allocate a big chunk of operating expenses to marketing, advertising, and promotion. It’s not uncommon for a brand’s ad spend to be its third or fourth largest expense, usually behind rent or facilities costs and salaries which tend to take up the top spots on the operating expense side.

And those expenses don’t come with any kind of guaranteed return on investment (or ROI, in consultant-speak). This means that a company could pour thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of dollars into an ad campaign, only to have it flop. It happens all the time. And when it does, there’s no way to recoup that money. It’s just gone, having been paid out to marketing firms, publications, online media houses, social media platforms, broadcasting conglomerates, and the like.

In contrast, when a company uses a network marketing model, it generally only has to cough up the cash for marketing when product is sold.

It’s genius, really.

And, instead of hiring maybe 100 sales representatives to promote their products and work with retailers, they can hire thousands (or even tens of thousands) because they don’t have to pay these reps a salary. In fact, the company doesn’t pay a dime until—and unless—product sells.

Even better, the representatives the company signs often have to pay the manufacturer when they sign on. This payment is often a mix of joining fees, initial product purchase, and educational materials, but of course this varies widely by brand.

To be fair, some of what you pay goes toward hosting and managing the online portal representatives use to track sales and get paid, although it’s hard to know whether there might be profit baked in. And if there is profit baked in, it means the representatives themselves become a new stream of income for the company.

Less inventory risk

Virtually all product-based companies take on some amount of inventory risk—that is, risk that they’ll spend money making, packaging, shipping, and placing product that doesn’t sell.

But like all e-commerce businesses, companies that use networking marketing avoid the risk of shipping products to stores like Wal-Mart and Target only to have them collect dust on the shelf. When product grows stale in a store, this means wasted transportation cost—not to mention that some agreements allow retailers to send products back to manufacturers if they don’t sell. Ouch.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

On top of that, companies that use network marketing avoid the very real risk of reputation damage that could occur if stores mark down their inventory to get products to move.

Will *you* be successful at this?

By now, I think we’re all clear about how a network marketing model is GOLD for manufacturers. But what about the hordes of women who sign on with them?

You might not like this next part, but I have to say it. As a coach for women entrepreneurs, I’m not here to tell you what you want to hear. I’m here to tell you what you need to hear. It’s one of those “hate me now; thank me later” deals.

I’ll leave the candy-coated affirmations to your mom, your bestie, or your husband. They won’t get you where you want to go. I’m here to fight for your dreams, period. That’s what I do.

Here goes.

Check your mindset

I know, I know… another coach talking about mindset.

But hear me out: the honest, data-driven truth is that 75% of network marketers never turn a profit, and 50% actually lose money. This means that for every eight people who sign on, two of them make money; two break even; and four of them end up poorer than when they started.

Part of this phenomenon could be because network marketing gigs generally has a low or nonexistent barrier to entry, meaning anyone can sign up. This is great news when you don’t have thousands to invest in start-up costs, but it also means there is a lot of competition, because again… anyone can sign up.

And, of the 25% of people who do turn a profit, only 3% made more than $25,000.

But you probably already knew that. And yet here you are, because despite the odds, you’re still intrigued.

Here’s where mindset comes in. With such a slim percentage of network marketers making money, you’ve gotta believe in yourself 100% if you think you’re getting into that 3% club.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

When I say you need to believe in yourself, I mean you need to take a long, hard look at the thoughts playing on repeat in your mind, because your thoughts are going to create your results.

I’ve talked about this before, but if you’re new here, here’s a quick explanation: I teach my clients something called “The Model.” I didn’t come up with it (I learned it from Brooke Castillo), but I do use it every day.

The idea behind The Model is pretty simple: what we believe to be true manifests as our reality. When something happens, we have a choice about how we view it. For example, let’s say a prospective clients balks at the price of your product. This is what we call a circumstance. It’s a thing that happened; a fact.

Where we go from here, though, is up to us. When something happens that’s outside of our control, we have thoughts about it. Thoughts are sentences in our brains that pop up in response to things that happen to us.

Thoughts, in turn, bring on feelings. And those feelings influence what we do—or don’t do (our actions). And ultimately, those actions create specific results for us.

As an example, let’s consider what might happen if you signed up with a network marketing company and sold zero products during your first 30 days:

Your Model:
1 – CIRCUMSTANCE ($0 sales in first 30 days)
2 – THOUGHT (I'll never be successful at sales)
3 – FEELING (defeated; disappointed)
4 – ACTION (shy away from marketing; pull back to avoid disappointment)
5 – RESULT (no sales)

So, your thoughts will literally make or break your network marketing career. Hence, mindset is critical. It’s probably the #1 thing I help clients do. I teach them to identify thoughts that are getting in the way of them being successful and help them re-wire their brain to choose more helpful thoughts.

Here’s an example of that same circumstance but a new, intentional thought:

Your Model:
1 – CIRCUMSTANCE ($0 sales in first 30 days)
2 – THOUGHT (I have everything I need to turn this around)
3 – FEELING (optimistic; determined)
4 – ACTION (seek help from others; study and try new methods of marketing)
5 – RESULT (attract more prospects)

What tends to work best for me—and my clients—is to start with a brain dump. Grab a pen and paper and start scribbling everything that comes to mind when you consider signing on as a network marketer.

Your brain will likely serve you some sweet thoughts at first, like:
“I love this product; it practically sells itself!”
“I’m going to make so much money!”
“If so-and-so can do it, then I can, too!”

But keep listening, because your brain is more than likely also storing some not-nice thoughts in the background.

“I’m not good at sales.”
“I might fail.”
“My friends will judge me.”

And if (when) your brain presents these shitty thoughts to you? Rejoice! You’re human! Your brain’s mission is to keep you safe from enemies foreign and domestic, and trying new things is scary and unsafe and generally to be avoided.

For the love of all that is holy, please spend as many hours untangling your wild and destructive thought patterns as you do watching TikTok. Because if you try to force the action of selling without the thoughts to back it up, you’re not going anywhere fast. This is exactly what I do with clients: show them how to sift through their thoughts to clean out the bad ones and put the good ones on repeat.

That’s all

I know you want me to tell you which companies are good and which ones are bad. A chart with sign-up fees and median income and earning potential.

Sorry. None of that here.

I’ll leave that analysis to everyone else on The Google. You don’t have to look very hard to find that information.

To me, it’s practically irrelevant.

If you want to try your hand at network marketing, you need to choose a product you truly love. One you’d feel selfish not sharing with everyone you know. (Ooh that’s a good through to practice, isn’t it?! “I would be selfish if I DIDN’T share this with everyone I know.”)

If and when you find that product or that company that lights you up, go to work on your thoughts before you spend a penny on signup fees, inventory, or anything else you need to get going with them.

Drag all of the thought-skeletons out of the closet of your brain. Expose them to the bright light of day. Which beliefs are worth keeping? Which ones are you ready to let go of?

It’s up to you. And if you want help, you know where to find me.

The Price is Right… Right?!

Last week, I laid on a narrow table, the light shining so brightly on my face that my eyes squinted instinctively, even though they were closed. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to move for the next hour (because good lashes take time), I struck up a conversation with the esthetician. 

Ep. 18: Blogging For Small Business Start, Grow, or Pivot

As a blogger-turned-coach, I know how beneficial it can be to add a blog to your website. But it’s jungle of information out there. Instead of getting overwhelmed or giving up entirely, I’ll share what you need to know (and ONLY what you need to know) to add a results-oriented blog to your existing website. ———– Let’s stay in touch! >> Follow me on IG @katiegrayofficial >> Learn more about my work and book your free consultation at http://www.katiegrayofficial.com/coaching >> Find show notes, ask questions, and leave comments about this episode at http://www.katiegrayofficial.com/show — Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/startgrowpivot/support

As a consultant, I’m perpetually curious about how women run their businesses. I love hearing their stories and asking questions. I love getting to know them and learning what they’re passionate about. What makes them spring out of bed in the morning, and what keeps them up at night.

Each of these conversations is a journey, and more often than not, I’m fascinated with what comes up. 

In this case, it was money. Or, more specifically, prices. 

“We raised our prices a while ago,” she told me. “And some people were not happy about it.”

Pricing in service-based businesses (think salons, spas, and the like) is wild. Unlike a brick-and-mortar shop or online store, there’s no MSRP to lean on when you’re setting your rates. There are no rules to follow, no guidelines that are guaranteed to work, nothing.

This lack of direction leads service-based entrepreneurs to rely on competitors to set their prices. But who do you think those competitors relied upon to help decide their prices? You guessed it: their competitors!

Over time, a pricing setpoint (or range of setpoints) emerges. And while I’m not suggesting you raise your rates to the point that they’re WAY outside the bounds of reality, I do encourage you to ask yourself three questions:

   #1 – What story does my price tell?

   #2 – What value(s) does my price express?

   #3 – What filter does my price provide?

Let’s dive into each of these and see whether the rates you charge tell the right story, express the value you want them to, and filter for your best clients.

Oh, and before I forget to mention it, I created a free worksheet you can download to help you with this exercise. Download it by clicking the button at the end of this post and VOILE – it will magically appear in your inbox. 😉

Question #1: What story does your price tell? 

It’s true: your price tells a story. Price is a fundamental and often overlooked form of communication. We can usually tell a lot about a service provider by the amount they charge, and prospective clients can infer a lot about you based on your prices, too.

When entrepreneurs charge relatively low prices, it usually suggests one of two things. Typically, it either means this person is inexperienced or is insecure

And hey, I’m casting ZERO judgment with either of those possibilities. It’s okay to be new at something, and it’s human to doubt your abilities sometimes. Nothing has gone wrong here.

In both cases, I would argue that charging below-market prices is bad for your client. Yes, I said it: undercharging harms you, your industry, and your client.

It can be tempting to charge less—often significantly less—than the competition if you’re inexperienced. Similarly, if you’re unsure about your skills, it logically makes sense that you’d set your rates low.

It sounds good, except humans aren’t very logical at all. Our behavior is driven primarily by emotion. And when you undercharge, you encourage your clients to indulge in scarcity-based, fear-driven behaviors. These manifest as last-minute cancellations and low retention as clients chase the next deep discount (likely from a different provider). 

If you’re inexperienced or unsure of your skills, I encourage you to focus on raising the quality of your work instead of lowering your prices. Think deeply about the experience you give your clients. How can you elevate their experience with you? How can you uplevel your customer service? 

Having said all this, I realize that pricing is an individual decision, and there are times when keeping rates low is a decision that aligns with your values or the needs of your community.

But for the entrepreneurs who do great work but attempt to compensate for being a newbie by undercharging, or for those whose limiting beliefs and mindset blocks keep them small? Consider rewriting your story. This is your business, and you’re in control.

Question #2: What value does your price express? 

First, let’s talk about the difference between price and value. Price is the dollar amount you charge. Value is what your client gets by hiring you.

And, to be clear, value is NOT a synonym for worth.

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

Warren Buffett

Please don’t confuse value with worth. I hear too many (well-intentioned) people urging service-based entrepreneurs to “charge their worth.” Except there’s a big problem with this: your worth is infinite. You couldn’t possibly charge enough to skim the surface of what you’re worth.

Value is also not a measure of what you deserveValue is simply the answer to the question: what is my service worth to the client? 

For example: How will their life improve as a result of what I do for them? What impact will hiring me have on them? What will they gain? What pitfall will they avoid by working with me?

People love to complain about the price doctors, lawyers, and accountants charge for their services. But everyone knows that the value of good medical care, sound legal advice, and accurate tax preparation is worth it.

The value concept applies to every service-based entrepreneur, by the way. It’s not limited to those who provide “essential” services. Even if you’re an esthetician, cosmetologist, coach, healer, artist, or any other “luxury” provider, your service carries immense value. 

And the amount you charge should align with that value. This approach to pricing is tricky because the value of most services is subjective and nonmonetary. Still, I think that if you’ve been considering a price increase, imagining all the ways your service is of enormous value to your clients can give you confidence.

Another way to think about the relationship between price and value is to consider your personal and professional values. What are the values that are most important to your life and work? Is it integrity? Excellence? Passion? Efficiency? Reliability? Honesty?

Get clear on your values. Does your price reflect those values? For example, if one of your values is excellence, would charging low-end rates reflect that value? I’m guessing not.

Question #3: What filter does my price provide?

Your services aren’t right for everyone, and that’s okay. Your price attracts specific clients and repels others, which works like magic if you let it.

There’s a saying in business called the Pareto Principle. It’s not an exact mathematical formula, but essentially it says that 20% of the work you put into your business will yield 80% of your results. Likewise, it’s common for 20% of your clients to take up 80% of your time, especially when you aren’t using price as an effective filter. 

The Pareto Principle showed up constantly when I managed a portfolio of business loans for a bank. As a lender, I worked with start-ups and established companies to help them fund asset purchases, manage their operating cash with lines of credit, buy real estate, and so on. Over the years, I noticed that the smallest companies often took up most of my time.

I kid you not: the multi-million dollar companies were usually the easiest to work with, while the micro-businesses gobbled up my time and energy like a colony of ants on a crumb. This is not to say I didn’t love helping small businesses—because I did enjoy it immensely—but from a financial perspective, it wasn’t ideal.

When you focus on aligning your price with the amount your ideal client is ready to pay, you know you’ve set the right filter. The clients who aren’t prepared to make the investment required to work with you—whether you’re a stylist or an attorney—are naturally filtered out by your price.

Your price certainly won’t be your only filter, but it can be one of them. Just like filtering your ideal clients by age, interest, location, gender, your price will call out to “your” people.

Bonus Question: How does my price serve my best clients?

Because money is such a loaded topic in our society, the prospect of raising prices can feel scary. As heart-centered entrepreneurs, we want to help people, have an impact, and be accessible. 

After the esthetician working her magic on my lashes shared with me how some clients reacted negatively to her recent price increase, I shared one of my favorite questions with her: “how does your new price serve your best clients? You know, the ones who value your work and respect your expertise? The ones who show up on time, refer you to their friends, and stay on schedule for fills and touch-ups?”

She was quiet for a moment, and I heard her tone change to one of curious optimism. “I’ve never thought of it that way,” she said. “But it makes so much sense.”

She shared that her salon used to get slammed every spring. Flush with cash, women whose tax refunds have hit their accounts flock to her chair for lash extensions and permanent makeup. They snatch up appointment slots, leaving “regular” clients scrambling. By summer, most of these “new” clients are gone. Some stop booking appointments, some cancel at the last minute, and some are simply no-shows.

Again (I need to make this crystal clear), I don’t think there’s anything wrong with clients who treat themselves to nice things when finances allow. It’s completely natural, and I have no place to judge that. 

What this phenomenon does, though, is illustrate the benefits of aligning your prices to your best clients. In doing so, you can be sure that your price tells the right story, is an expression of your values, and acts as one of the most potent filters you have to find and keep loyal, engaged clients.


P.S. Because I love to spoil my readers and listeners, I created a free worksheet you can download to help you with this exercise. Download it by clicking the button below.

5 Secrets to Better Sleep

Saturday has always been my favorite (shhh, don’t tell the other days!). When I worked in corporate, I loved Saturday because it meant I didn’t have to spent 8+ hours stuck in my office. Instead, I was free to spend the day binge-watching HGTV, painting my nails, and spending time outside if the weather was nice. I’d move at the speed of an injured tortoise from one self-centered indulgence to the next with nary a care in the world.

But then kids came along, and Saturday became less relaxing. Saturday, when you’re a mom, means episodes of Paw Patrol on repeat, cleaning the kitchen (again), and fetching no fewer than a dozen snacks. But Saturday was still cool because at least I didn’t have to make myself presentable and schlep my mom-bod to work.

Now that I work for myself as a life coach, podcast host, and blogger (and f*cking love my work, I might add), Saturday has lost a bit of its luster. Why? Well, the house is in chaos. Everyone is screaming. And all creativity, having been scared off by exhaustion and sticky toddler hands, has left my body.

Despite all this, Saturday is still pretty sweet because I get to sleep in. A couple of years ago, my husband and I made a deal: he’d let me sleep in every Saturday morning, and I, in turn, would get up with the kids on Sundays. And let me tell you: after six days in a row of waking with the sun to the sensation of toddler-sized knees burrowed into my back, this small respite is absolute gold.

The power of a better night’s sleep

Intuitively, I’ve always known that sleep was important. If I had any doubt about this, enduring each of my kid’s newborn days—and the choppy, haphazard sleep schedule that came along with them—solidified my belief that getting quality rest was paramount.

Predictably, science agrees.

sleep-deprived woman at work
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Experts at the National Sleep Foundation say we need about 7-9 hours of sleep each night to feel our best. We’re all wired a bit differently, so your ideal hours of shut-eye might be different from mine, but the amount you need probably falls within that range.

Sleep has a profound effect on our physical and emotional well-being. Getting a good night’s rest keeps our immune system functioning, supports learning and memory, and helps boost our mood. The problem is, many of us aren’t getting enough.

When our sleep dips too far below the recommended amount, we really start to suffer. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania experimented to see just how detrimental poor sleep is. They found that people who sleep only 4.5-5 hours per night are at high risk of feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted than usual. If we have a bad night here and there, it’s unlikely that lack of sleep will have a significant impact on our mood. But if it starts to become a habit (or if it’s a habit already), that’s when trouble begins.

Releasing limiting beliefs, squashing negative self-talk, and correcting thought errors is hard work no matter which way you look at it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a filthy liar.

This is one of the main reasons my coaching program includes a deep dive into my client’s schedules, habits, and routines—including how much time they spend snoozing. And it’s not so I can wag my finger at them disapprovingly when we discover they’re logging six hours on a good night. Rather, it’s because I know that if their brain is fatigued, having been deprived of the rest it needs to be fully functional, the work we do will be an uphill climb. Releasing limiting beliefs, squashing negative self-talk, and achieving goals is hard work no matter which way you look at it, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a filthy liar. Add mental exhaustion to that, and you end up in a pretty hairy situation.

How to get more, better quality sleep

I know most of us are trying to get the rest we know we need, but it’s hard to do. We can’t just click our heels together three times and overcome the hurdles standing between us and our warm, cozy beds. But my hope is that at least one of these five secrets to better sleep that I’m about to share will bring you closer to your sleep goals.

1. Try to go to bed at the same time each night. I know, I know: when you finally get the kids to bed, all you want to do is curl up on the couch with popcorn and the latest episode of This is Us. But if this means you go to bed at 9 pm one day at 11 pm the next, your brain will not be pleased. Your brain likes consistency. When your brain gets what it wants, it rewards you by enhancing your focus and elevating your unique brand of sarcastic wit. When it doesn’t get what it wants, it behaves like a whiny toddler who doesn’t want to put on shoes.

I have one of those. He’s cute but man… exhausting!

A great way to set yourself up for success is to use an alarm or notification on your phone that alerts you when it’s time to start your bedtime ritual. Notice I did not suggest that you set an alarm for the time you want to be in bed. Instead, I’m recommending that you set a notification for about 30-60 minutes before that time so that you can wind down in a slow, relaxed fashion. You might write in a journal, do some light stretches, read a book, or anything else that brings you peace and calm.

Plus, when you go to sleep and wake up on a predictable schedule, your body’s internal clock starts to learn the pattern. Before long, many people even start to wake up naturally at the right time without needing an alarm clock. Imagine that!

2. About one hour before you want to be asleep, dim the lights wherever you are and avoid screens. Studies show that blue light from TVs, smartphones, and tablets can suppress melatonin, which is a hormone that influences your circadian rhythm. 

If you can’t eliminate screens from your environment, you still have some options. For example, you can ask your optometrist about blue light filtering eyeglasses. You can buy these online for under $20.

Alternatively, you can change some settings on your phone, tablet, or computer to turn down the amount of blue light it emits. Apple and Android have built-in night mode functions, or you can download third-party apps that will do this for you.

Side note: PC Mag did a great piece on this (you can get to it by clicking here).

lavender essential oil, good for sleeping
Photo by Mareefe on Pexels.com

3. Use sleep-friendly essential oils in your bedroom. Because essential oils are powerful, always check with your doctor before using them. If you get the okay, popular oils for sleep include chamomile, jasmine, and lavender. I buy mine from doTerra, but any high-quality brand will do. You can use them in an aroma diffuser or spray diluted oils on your pillows and bedsheets. To make a diluted essential oil spray, fill a glass spray bottle with purified or distilled water. Then, add a few drops of your chosen oil. Shake it well (oil and water don’t mix, remember?) and do a test spray. You can add more oil until you’re happy with the strength of the aroma.

4. Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee and some teas 5-8 hours before going to sleep since caffeine can keep you awake. When plain old water gets boring but I don’t want to resort to pop or coffee, I pour a tall glass of lemonade or sparkling water.

5. Pay attention to the temperature in your bedroom. The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping the room at around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature is significantly higher or lower, it can impact your ability to fall asleep and hamper the quality of your rest.

Sweaty sheets, anyone? No thank you.


If you have any other ideas for getting better sleep, leave them in the comments. You never know who might be looking for something new to try!

Let Go of All-Or-Nothing Thinking

The first job I ever had was at a local fast-food joint. It was pretty charming, as far as fast-food restaurants go. The whole building was decked out in a woodland theme, complete with log-cabin-style walls, a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, and—last but certainly not least—a life-size stuffed black bear near the counter.

Before every shift, I’d pull on a pair of itchy black nylons, one leg at a time, praying they didn’t snag. Next came the polyester black skirt and very bulky, very unflattering forest green polo. The thick fabric would bunch around my middle, creating a really unique silhouette. Finally, I’d wrap the strings of my black apron around my waist, pull my dark brunette ponytail through the back of my hat and slip on the plainest black flats ever made.

By the end of most shifts, my hair would smell like fry grease and the apron I wore would be splattered with the shake mix that inevitably flung off the wand of the soft serve machine no matter how graceful I tried to be.

It was not a glamorous gig, but it was fun. I learned a lot during my time behind the register. Counting change, for example. Or being nice to customers who insisted on being crotchety curmudgeons, showing up on time, organizing a walk-in refrigerator, washing dishes, mopping floors, and a bunch of other things I’m forgetting since this was 20 years ago.

But I learned one lesson I never expected to learn from that drive-thru: the perils of all-or-nothing thinking.

All or nothing (go big or go home)

There was one thing customers did at this restaurant that made everyone snicker. Actually, I’m sure customers are still doing this and will continue to do it until the end of time. But anyway…

Night after night, we’d see folks pull into the drive-thru lane and order the most fat-laden, high-calorie things on the menu. Double bacon cheeseburgers. Large fries, with cheese sauce on the side for dipping. Cookies. Onion rings. Loaded baked potatoes.

And then? Diet pop. DIET. POP. (Or soda or coke or whatever the hell you people who are NOT from the Midwest call it.)

The consensus among the staff was that if someone was planning to indulge in such a fattening meal, why wash it all down with diet pop? Why not go for the regular version? Go big, or go home, right? If you plan on taking in 1,400 calories at lunch, what’s another 300 or so?

Something is better than nothing

16-year old me laughed smugly along with the rest of the crew over this phenomenon. Mid-thirties me would like to slap her. Because maybe the customer just preferred the taste of diet pop. (My mom is this way—what a weirdo.)

Or maybe the customer is moving toward a healthier lifestyle one step at a time, and switching to diet pop is one of those steps.

Then again, maybe it was none of my damn business.

Let’s assume for the sake of this story that the customer chose diet pop to cut unnecessary calories out of their diet. Realistically, making small, sustainable changes is the right choice for many people. James Clear, who is one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, wrote a whole book about it.

In Atomic Habits, Clear writes, “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”

Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.

James Clear, Atomic Habits

For me, what Clear is saying is that we don’t need to choose between doing nothing and doing everything. That’s a false binary. If we just choose to make small changes, those shifts will add up over time to something worthwhile.

The concept of taking baby steps toward a goal is old news—and is not what this piece is about.

Rather, I want to apply this concept to every kind of “all or nothing” thought trap we fall into.

Binary thinking is poison

Binary thinking makes us miserable because it only deals in extremes. For example, if you tend to view things in a black-and-white way, you might think you’re either a success or a failure, depending on how you define those. Chances are, you’ll only need to make one mistake to label yourself a failure.

brown cupcake with pink icing macro photography
Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

If you’re trying to eat healthier but you slip up and eat a cupcake, you’ll think you’ve failed. If you’re in a job interview and everything went well except for one question, you’ll consider that flub as evidence that the whole meeting was a waste.

When you’re stuck in all-or-nothing thought patterns, you’re either at 100% or 0% – there is no in-between. It’s time to break the pattern.

I teach my clients something called “The Model.” I didn’t come up with it (Brooke Castillo did), but I do use it everyday to coach myself.

The Model is pretty simple:
– something happens (a circumstance)
– we have thoughts about it
– the thoughts make us feel some kinda way
– our feelings make us behave a certain way
– our behaviors bring us a certain result

So you can see how our thoughts will either make or break us. We can use them to move forward—or keep us stuck. And I have to tell you, black-and-white thoughts are POISON in The Model. Polarizing thoughts saturate The Model, destroying every opportunity we have to make real progress.

Let’s use the cupcake-on-a-diet scenario as an example:
– you eat a cupcake
– you think it was a mistake because cupcakes weren’t on your plan
– because it was a mistake, you feel like a failure (because you’re stuck in this success/failure paradigm)
– because you feel like you’ve failed, you decide to give up entirely
– because you give up, you get the result of not losing weight

The solution? Embrace the grey area.

If all-or-nothing thoughts are tripping you up, try this 3-step method to turn things around next time you find yourself stuck in one of these no-good thought patterns.

First, notice the thought. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken, amirite??? (I am right.) There’s no need to beat yourself up; you’re simply on a fact-finding mission.

Side note: How ironic would it be if you turned the act of noticing your toxic thought patterns into another excuse to label yourself a failure for having such thoughts in the first place!? Don’t do that.

Then, consider the evidence. Is it true that eating one cupcake will ruin a week of on-track eating? Mathematically, does that make sense? No, it doesn’t. So now we know that—objectively speaking—this thought was not true. Once we find the evidence that disproves our brain’s “theory” about the situation, we can open up to the possibility of creating a different thought.

Finally, choose a new, intentional thought. Once you expose your toxic thoughts for the hot garbage they are, the world is your oyster. You can pick any new thought to think in its place, as long as your brain will accept this new thought. This is why I don’t recommend trying to go from thinking “I’m a lousy failure” to thinking “I’m a raving success” in one leap. Your brain will call B.S. on that one.

But what might your brain accept? How about “I am making progress” or “I will figure this out” or “I will keep trying until I get there.” Do any of those feel reasonable?

When we plug these intentional thoughts into The Model, it’s easy to see how we might feel hopeful, motivated, and energized instead of sad, stuck, or angry.

And since our feelings cause our behavior, we can see how positive or productive feelings spur healthy behavior, whereas negative thoughts create unhealthy behaviors.

And since our behaviors drive our results, it becomes obvious that healthy behavior gives us the results we want, but unhealthy behavior gives us the results we don’t want.

And since all of this started with a thought, that’s where the change needs to occur.

If you try this, I’d love to know how it worked for you! Leave a comment or shoot me a message and let me know!

-Katie


Who Do You Think You Are: Break Through Limiting Beliefs

There are just some moments that stick with you. Events that etch themselves into your brain and mark a shift in the way you view yourself, other people, or even the world. Their effects can be felt months, years, or even decades later, influencing your thoughts, feelings, and habits. Some of these moments plant seeds of limiting beliefs that grow over time unless we break the cycle.

This is the story of one such moment in my life. I’m sharing it with you because this experience is one that many of us have had. The details may differ, but I have a hunch you’ll be able to relate.

The interview

I sat poised and ready to nail my first big post-college job interview. It was 2007, and the economy was getting tough. The mountain of students loans I’d used to fund my education (some $60K) loomed over me, as did the rent on my two-bedroom apartment. Private university tuition hadn’t been cheap, and despite the scholarships and on-campus jobs, I had a hefty balance to repay.

I was prepared for this meeting. I already had a “foot in the door” so to speak, since I already worked for this bank as a teller. Still, I knew competition for this position was stiff. There were many applicants, one of whom was my boyfriend (now husband), and there were only two job openings.

Things were going well until the interviewer—a woman in her late 20’s—asked the question they all ask.

“Tell me about a time when you failed at something,” she said.

The flop

I was ready for this. I knew exactly what story to tell.

In college, I had tried to start a campus TV station. I had grand plans for news broadcasts, event coverage, and feature pieces. All I needed was equipment, video editing software, people to run cameras, people to be on-camera, space to record, and props.

So basically… everything.

I got to work. I advertised the opportunity, sharing my vision with anyone who’d entertain the idea, on our campus intranet. I hosted info sessions, laying out my plans in front of dozens of interested students. I smiled as I offered everyone who attended a heavily frosted sugar cookie with sprinkles on top. I did my best to make.it.happen!

Spoiler: It did not happen.

Turns out that a lot of students liked the idea of being on TV, but very few were willing—or able—to work behind the camera or toil behind the scenes.

After months of pitching the concept and trying to put the pieces together (while also taking a full load of classes and working part-time), I threw in the towel.

When I finished recounting the story, the interviewer asked me a question I’ll never forget.

“What made you think you could succeed at that? Why did you think you were the one to take on this project?”

I realize, as I type this out, that this woman sounds like a real B.

She wasn’t trying to be rude. She was genuinely curious what a 20-year-old with no video editing or serious journalism experience could have possibly been thinking when she put herself in charge of starting a TV station from scratch.

And I admit that up until that point, it had never occurred to me that I might not have been the person for the job. That I hadn’t been ready or capable. That it hadn’t been my place to try.

“Well,” I began awkwardly. “No one else was doing it.”

This is why we hold back

This, my friends, is how limiting beliefs get installed in our brains. This is how we come to believe that we have limits. That we need permission to do big things.

This message nestled itself in my brain and stayed years past its welcome, keeping me stuck in habit loops that kept me small. I began to question my every move and worry that I might make the wrong ones. I began to fear failure to such an extreme degree that I hid my gifts just to avoid the possibility of falling on my face.

Now in my thirties, I notice women around me taking bigger and bigger risks. I see friends leading companies, running their own businesses, speaking on stages, and sharing their stories. It has encouraged me to shed the weight of uncertainty that had been holding me down, too. In lifting themselves up, they have lifted me.

What I’ve learned is that this works both ways:
1 – When we look for evidence that it’s safe to chase our dreams, we’ll find it. We’ll see it in our colleagues, our friends, or even in brave strangers on the internet. Whatever we believe, our brains will look to prove with evidence. So if you believe that you’re capable and worthy of making shit happen, your brain will be happy to serve up some proof.
2 – When we lift other women up—whether by being an example of what’s possible, lending our support, or giving words of encouragement—we rise, too. I have been known to send random voice messages to women in my network just to let them know they’re doing a good job. I see you out there. You’re feeling the fear and doing the thing anyway. You’re a badass. Keep it up.

If you need permission to after your dream, consider it granted.

P. S. I got the job.

5 Must-Listen Podcasts for Moms

I used to think people who preferred listening to audiobooks over reading regular old paper books were weird. I mean, isn’t that kind of like listening to AM radio?

But then I had kids, and somewhere amid the late-night feedings and filibuster-length bedtime routines, I realized I had a lot of wasted time on my hands. It was difficult to get much done with a baby literally attached to my body. And even once said baby was lying quietly in his crib, I didn’t have any light to read by.

At first, I developed a deep fondness for Candy Crush. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Candy Crush is a highly addictive puzzle game app. At least it’s mentally stimulating, I assured myself. Plus, I could play it with one hand, which was important since my other limb was usually trapped under a baby.

Such is life with infants.

Over time, I crushed a lot of candies. So many candies. I needed something else to fill my time because staring at that little screen began to hurt my eyeballs after awhile.

Enter podcasts.

These episodic series of spoken words can be found on quite literally any topic you can think of. Search Apple Podcasts and you’ll see. Interested in the history of garden gnomes? Curious about hot topics in the dental industry? Well, you’re in luck because they’re both out there.

Assuming you’re looking for more practical shows to listen to, I’ve rounded up 5 podcasts—in no particular order—you can’t miss.

#1: Unlocking Us (with Brene Brown)

Could I make a list of ANYTHING I adore without including Brene* on it? Sure, I could. But I won’t.

On this show, Brene uses her 20+ years studying the emotions and experiences that bring meaning and purpose to our lives. “I want this to be a podcast that’s real, unpolished, honest, and reflects both the magic and the messiness of what it means to be human,” she says.

If you need a dose of connection and understanding—especially right now—her show is a winner.

*In my imagination, Brene and I are on a first-name basis.

#2: The Doctor’s Farmacy (with Mark Hyman, M.D.)

Yes. Farmacy, with an F.

“We are seeing an ever-increasing burden of chronic disease, primarily driven by our food and food system,” Dr. Hyman writes. “This podcast is a place for deep conversations about the critical issues of our time in the space of health, wellness, food, and politics.”

Every time I listen to one of his episodes, it opens my eyes to something new. If you think food is medicine and you think critically about what you feed yourself and your family, I highly recommend this one.

#3: The Meditation Podcast

The Meditation Podcast has been around since 2006, which is the Dinosaur Age of podcasting. If it’s still humming after 15 years, they must be doing something right! Run by a husband-and-wife team (how cute is that?), this show uses guided meditations, binaural beats and mindfulness to promote stress and anxiety relief.

Photo by A R C H I G E R O S A on Unsplash

If you’ve never heard of binaural beats, you’re not alone. Aside from The Meditation Podcast, I scarcely hear them mentioned. Binaural beats are a type of sound wave therapy. I find that listening to these episodes with headphones brings me into a deeper meditation faster and more easily than listening to guided meditations without the special sounds.

If you need help falling asleep or find regular meditation difficult, give this one a try!

#4: The Happiness Lab (with Dr. Laurie Santos)

Last summer, I took Dr. Santos’ class, The Science of Well-Being, online. (Side note: you can audit this class for free on Coursera!)

Her class is Yale University’s most popular course ever, and with good reason. She explains the psychology of happiness in a way that makes it easy to understand and interesting to follow. Plus, she seems like a genuinely cool person.

So when she came out with a podcast, I was all over it.

“You might think you know what it takes to lead a happier life… more money, better job, Instagram-worthy vacations,” she said. “You’re dead wrong.”

In fact, it was her course that helped inspire me to develop my life coaching practice.

If you nerd out on personal development and self improvement, add this podcast to your list. It’s worth the listen!

#5: UnF*ck Your Brain

I stumbled on this podcast while searching for something else in Apple’s podcast app, and with a title like that, I just had to click on it.

I mean, that’s a pretty strong title.

The podcast is hosted by Kara Loewentheil, who ended her law career to become *drum roll, please* … a life coach. And she’s brilliant at it.

“This is the podcast for high-achieving feminist women who struggle with anxiety, self-doubt, and imposter syndrome,” she said. On the show, Loewentheil teaches women “how to overcome social conditioning and your own self-critical thoughts so that you can reduce your anxiety and insecurity, boost your self-confidence, and get what you want in life.”

Yes, please.

What did I miss? Any podcasts you’ve fallen in love with that you’d recommend?? Let me know in the comments!

Want to Feel Better Fast? Here’s a 2-Minute Solution.

Have we all seen this genius dinosaur meme by now? You know, the one that depicts the evolution of a mother’s mood from that of the affable “Rex” from Toy Story at 9 am to the murderous sharp-toothed beast from Jurassic Park by sundown? It’s relatable. More often than not, when I can feel myself turning into a monster mom, I need a way to boost my mood quickly and easily. How?

It’s water.

Sure, my kids are being jerks—but dehydration makes things 100% worse.

By now, you’ve probably heard that around 60% of the human body is made up of water. When you’re dehydrated—even a little bit—it can
slow your metabolism, slow cellular turnover, and make your skin dry. It can also make you feel hungry and even give you a headache.


But not getting enough water can also make you feel tired, making everything you need to get done more difficult. What’s worse, studies show that even mild dehydration can make you grouchy.

Hydration is trickier than we think. Being even mildly dehydrated can really mess with our mood AND, just as important, our motivation to do other things that support our mental well-being, like exercise. Dehydration can easily sneak up on us because we don’t tend to feel thirsty until our bodies are already experiencing suboptimal levels of hydration.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut studied the effects of mild hydration on mood, cognitive ability, and energy level. Here’s what they found.

Harris Lieberman, a research psychologist with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Massachusets, co-authored this study. He said, “Even mild dehydration that can occur during ordinary daily activities can degrade how we are feeling – especially for women, who appear to be more susceptible to the adverse effects of low levels of dehydration than men.” He went on to say that “In both sexes, these adverse mood changes may limit the motivation required to engage in even moderate aerobic exercise. Mild dehydration may also interfere with other daily activities, even when there is no physical demand component present.”

sliced lemon fruit in glass picher of water
Photo by Julia Zolotova on Pexels.com

Water is the foundation of a good mood. There’s no way around it – to experience joy to its fullest, we have to keep our bodies hydrated. The good news here is that most people only need around 64 ounces of water a day to avoid dehydration.

If you’re anything like me, there are two reasons you might not get enough water each day.
1 – You simply forget. It’s so easy to get caught up in taking care of the kids, running errands, and folding laundry that it slips my mind. But some free apps will remind you to fill your water cup, like Daily Water Tracker, Hydro Coach, or Plant Nanny.
2 – Water tastes boring. How is it that I can gleefully down two pints of beer over a good meal, but the thought of drinking 32oz of water doesn’t appeal to me?! If this is the case for you, add a splash of pure organic lemon or cranberry juice to your cup. You can usually find these pure juices in the same aisle as the juice blends and concentrates, but they’re in glass bottles.

You can also add cut-up fruit or sliced cucumbers, or even herbs like mint or rosemary. If I’m in a hurry, I opt for sparkling water for a little variety without adding many (or any) calories. My favorites are Spindrift, LaCroix, and Waterloo, which you can find at whatever grocery store you typically use.

P.S. Want more simple self-care ideas? Follow me on IG @katiegrayofficial!